but is it really a barn?

the barn ucd
It’s been (and continues to be) a very busy week. I’ve not even had lunchtimes. So there has been very little sketching, but today, on my late lunch, I just had to get out into the sunny weather (after the massive rainstorm of yesterday) and draw a familiar looking building which in fact I have never drawn before. It’s called The Barn, for some reason, on the UC Davis campus (actually I have drawn that cactus in front of it, fairly recently). This was in the Stillman & Birn gamma book using uniball vision micro and watercolour. Going a week without drawing… that’s tough, man. Nearly forgot which end of the pen to draw with, man.

in the city of blinding lights

roberto mancini

Roberto Mancini (which is Italian for Robert of Man City), or at least a close approximation, drawn in the Stillman and Birn gamma book, mostly in copic multiliner until it decided to give up on me. I have been practising drawing Mr Mancini, but still I haven’t quite captured his eyes; they’re too dark, too intense, as though Tevez is giving him evils. Still, this is progress, not perfection, and I’ll keep practising (until they sack him). I have a soft spot for Mancini. I was a big fan of his as a player at Sampdoria (my Italian team preferisco back in the giorno). And he’s a good looking fellow too. After all the untold riches City have had heaped upon them lately, I suddenly felt sorry for them when United went top recently; City fans are long suffering, and to be pipped now would be gut-wrenching. They look destined, despite winning every single home game, to ‘do a Newcastle’. (Notice how I’m not talking about Spurs nbeing pipped into 3rd by Arsenal. Lots of pipping going on.)

davis hillel house

davis hillel house (temporary)

Opposite Toomey Field on the edge of UC Davis, on the corner of A & 4th, this is the Davis Hillel house. Actually, it is the temporary one; the real one is being redeveloped next door. Hillel offers community support for Jewish students, including 100% kosher food; I know this, because I worked on a number of occasions in the kitchen at the Hillel house in central London, as a waiter for a very amiable Jewish caterer called Ron. I liked the look of this particular building; many of he buildings in this quarter of Davis have a lot of character. their new building will be two storey, and perhaps I will go and sketch the progress. However, just this week the allergens returned, and the sneezing and sniffling season has begun. Oh well. This was sketched at lunchtime yesterday, with colour added later.

first tee-ball game!

first tee-ball game!
Yesterday my son played his first ever tee-ball game, and has now entered the big world of baseball. His team, the Orioles, played the Pirates on a lovely March early evening; my Luke, wearing the number 1 (how cool!), made a couple of nice hits and while fielding made a great throw to get someone at first base. Sport at this age is so cute. They don’t keep score in tee-ball, and nobody is really out, everyone gets a chance to run the bases and hit the ball, and it’s all a lot of fun for them. Both teams therefore win (they won’t ever call it a draw!), and they all get snow-cones afterwards. My boy’s growing up; we’re very proud parents!

first tee-ball game!
first tee-ball game!

glove is all you need

my son's first baseball glove

This was fun to draw: my son’s baseball glove (or is it a mitt? I already drew one Mitt in this sketchbook). The baseball glove is such an archetypal piece of Americana, and naturally it is completely alien to me. My four year old son had his first baseball game today – tee-ball, to be precise, and it was great, good job mate! – and while he is much more comfortable with the old baseball than a learner such as I, he did take to wearing it on his head for periods while out fielding. That is what I would do too, probably. 

Drawn with micron pigma 03 in the gamma series Stillman & Birn book.

super troopers

clone trooper shoe
My son has the coolest shoes. I always knew this of course, because I have drawn a picture of every single one of them in a single book, chronologically, in black pen. These new ones however are my favourite yet. Based on the Clone Troopers from Star Wars (the forefathers of the Stormtroopers), they even flash blue. And I totally want some myself!! Except I don’t think adults can realistically wear such footwear in public. Perhaps Boba Fett ones? I liked them so much I drew this shoe twice. The one from the ‘official’ series is below, copic pen in a moleskine cahier. The second one I drew was on the first page of my brand new Stillman & Birn ‘Alpha’ series sketchbook (thanks Stillman & Birn for sending me that!), and it took me a couple of hours, mostly in copic multiliner (size 0.1) but with a little bit of uniball vision micro, and watercolours to colour it in. I’m pleased with the result, and the paper is nice to draw on, not as smooth as the Moleskine Cahier or Volant, smoother than the Moleskine watercolour though and it takes a watercolour wash pretty well.
21: clone trooper shoe

They are cool shoes. But, alas, if I wore them I would be constantly worried that one day, they would turn on me, Order 66 style.

scattered showers

rainy silo

I must admit I am really happy it is raining in Davis. We need it, for sure, but i just like the feel of the rain. It feels comforting, feels like home. Oh, it can bugger off again soon enough for sure (I didn’t move to California to get rained on, I can do that in north London) but it’s nice while it’s here. I did a qucik rainy sketch from the window of the Silo at lunchtime yesterday.

black place shoe

18: black place shoe

Continuing the long series of sketching all of my son’s shoes in chronological order (though there is some overlap which I’m uncertain about), this is the black ‘Place’ shoe (Place is the name of the brand; no, I don’t know them either). I don’t know how often he ever wears these, because they competed for time with the Lightning McQueen shoes (as a three-four year old which would you choose?) and so are in pretty good shape.

You can see all of his shoes in this one series here. Feet just keep getting bigger…

let’s draw the arboretum!

bridge in the arboretum
Yesterday was our latest “Let’s Draw Davis!” sketchcrawl, this time at the UC Davis Arboretum. Eleven of us met at Wyatt Deck, which turned out to be a great place to meet for a sketchcrawl. I think I chatted more than I sketched, so I was slow starting (pretty typical on Davis sketchcrawls for me), but it was good sketching conversation, and I learned a lot from speaking with others. I sketched in my Stillman and Birn (gamma) sketchbook).
wyatt deck
davis sketchersarboretum thumbnails


And the redbuds are blooming right now, so whole stretches of the Arboretum are bathed in deep pink. This is different from the pink blossom on many trees (though my sketch doesn’t really show that distinction!). The last sketch I did was the one at the top. I enjoyed that one the most.

The next Let’s Draw Davis will be on April 14th (a week before the Worldwide Sketchcrawl, which is the same day as Picnic Day), and will be on G Street. More ‘urban’ than here! But I must say I always enjoy the Arboretum Sketchcrawls, it is such a pleasant spot to sketch.

will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls

pierce hall (being demolished)
These student housing halls over by Tercero on the UC Davis campus, Pierce Halls, are currently being demolished. I was kindly informed about this last week so raced over this week to capture them before they vanished. I found a quiet spot up a stairwell outside the demolition zone, and listened to the “football weekly extra” podcast (who seemed convinced that Spurs season was also under demolition). I’m glad the big digger stayed still for me, parked like a big mechanical yellow dinosaur awaiting its prey. I can imagine all the student tales from all the years that students lived here. When I was at university I didn’t live in the halls, and while one part of me felt I was missing out, I’m glad I didn’t. I did spend a year living in the student halls while teaching in Charleroi (la Vigie), which was noisy to say the least. I have no idea about American halls though, other than in the movies. Anyway, whatever the hidden histories, they’re all being knocked down now and buried in the rubble.